Events & Opportunities

December 11, 2019

Conversation Project: Seeing the Forest and the Trees

We live in a state with abundant forests, and yet we don’t all see the same thing when we look into the woods. Oregon is known for both its timber industry and its deep environmental values. For many decades now management of our public forests has made headlines and driven apart neighbors. Facilitator Mariah Acton will lead this conversation to explore the values, identities, and beliefs we each have about our forests and what we, as a state, do to steward, manage, and protect this special resource.

7:00 p.m., Astoria Public Library, Astoria

December 13, 2019

Conversation Project: Who Are the Deserving Poor?

If you’ve grown up in the United States, chances are you’ve been conditioned to trust that your individual success is earned through hard work. But if this is the case, what do we make of the millions of Americans who struggle with poverty, hunger, and job insecurity? Who is to blame for poverty? What qualities or conditions allow a person to be considered “deserving” of government and community support? Join facilitator Erica Tucker for a conversation that explores our beliefs about poverty and asks us to consider our assumptions about who should—and shouldn’t—be eligible for support.

11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Garlington Health Center, Portland

January 13, 2020

Conversation Project: What Does It Mean to Be American?

The United States is a culturally diverse nation with residents who can trace their heritage to countries across the globe, and our diversity is projected to continue to increase over the next several decades. Given the differences of race, ethnicity, place, religion, wealth, language, education, and ideology that exist in the US, what are the things that unite us a nation? How do we understand what it means to be American and what we hold valuable? Join this conversation led by facilitator Ellen Knutson to share your ideas about what it means to be American and hear others’ ideas, to identify differences and points of connection that may lead us toward the ideal stated in our nation’s motto: E pluribus unum, out of many, one. This event will take place in Meeting Room A.

6:30 p.m., Beaverton City Library, Beaverton

January 20, 2020

Conversation Project: White Allyship in Close-knit Communities

What does it mean to be a white ally, especially in close-knit communities? And what does it mean to have the support of white allies? What is needed from white people in our communities to move the conversation about racism—both statewide and nationally—forward in a productive and respectful way? In this conversation led by facilitator Alexis James, participants will have the chance to explore their identities, learn how to acknowledge different lived experiences without alienating friends and neighbors, and move toward action in their own communities. This conversation will set the table for bringing discussions about racism, white culture, and identity to your dining room, living room, and backyard BBQs. This conversation is open to and welcomes people of all racial backgrounds and identities. The event will begin at 5:00 p.m., and the conversation will begin at 5:45 p.m.

5:00 p.m., Chehalem Cultural Center, Newberg

January 22, 2020

Think & Drink with John Haroldson, Adrienne Nelson, and Shannon Wight

Join us January 22 for the second conversation of our 2019–20 Portland Think & Drink series, Making Democracy. At this event, we'll talk about democracy, justice, and the courts with three major figures in criminal justice in Oregon: Oregon Supreme Court Justice Adrienne Nelson, Benton County District Attorney John Haroldson, and Shannon Wight, deputy director of Partnership for Safety and Justice. Think & Drink is an onstage conversation series that explores provocative ideas and fresh perspectives. Come prepared to listen, watch, and engage. We invite you to stay after the program for snacks and conversation. Minors are welcome when accompanied by an adult. The Alberta Rose Theatre is accessible by Trimet bus lines 17, 70, and 72. The venue is wheelchair accessible. 

7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Alberta Rose Theatre, Portland

January 22, 2020

Conversation Project: The Middle Class and Other Stories About Wealth, Status, and Power

Join Oregon Humanities Executive Director Adam Davis for a conversation that explores what we think and how we talk about class in Oregon and the nation. What exactly, for example, is the middle class, who does it include and exclude, and why does it get so much attention? When does talking about class turn into class warfare, or pandering, or simple confusion? To what extent can we talk about class without talking about race, ethnicity, and cultural background? Class is clearly related to wealth and money, but it also involves much more than that, from education to dress to the shows we watch, the words we use, and the clothes we wear. What are the measures and markers that help us recognize class, and to what extent is class useful for seeing our state, our neighbors, and ourselves? This event will take place at PCC Rock Creek Event Center, Section A.

2:00 p.m., Portland Community College - Rock Creek, Portland

January 23, 2020

Conversation Project: It's a Free Country

Ever heard the expression "America: land of the brave and free" or "It's a free country! I can do what I want"? Maybe you think or say these things yourself. But what does it mean to "be free"? Join Ann Su for a conversation that explores the impact of culture on how we define, value, and experience freedom personally and in community. Participants will discuss different questions: Does everyone have access to freedom in the same way? What choices come with freedom and what are the responsibilities that accompany those choices? How does the concept of "freedom" play out in a diverse, democratic society? This event will take place in the program room.

6:30 p.m., Silver Falls Library District, Silverton

January 23, 2020

Conversation Project: The Meaning of Climate Change

We live in a time of tremendous transformation as the reality of climate change and its effects on our communities become more apparent with every passing year. While there is still much that can and must be done to mitigate the range of impacts climate change might have, we are confronting the certainty of a crisis that will continue to unfold no matter what we do. What is the meaning of this extraordinary moment in human history? The meanings we construct about climate change affect how we think about it, our feelings about it and our willingness to take action. Portland State University instructor David Osborn leads a discussion exploring different meanings of climate change and how our understanding of meaning relates to action. This event will take place in the Grange Hall. The admission fee is $5.

6:30 p.m., Columbia Grange 267, Corbett

February 5, 2020

Conversation Project: Talking about Dying

Death is a universal event that transcends many of the differences between us, but it's not something that we have regular opportunities to think and talk about. Oregon Humanities developed the Talking about Dying program to create more public opportunities to reflect on the stories and influences that shape our thinking about death and dying and to hear perspectives and ideas from fellow community members. Talking about Dying community conversations are free, ninety-minute facilitated discussions geared toward public audiences (ages 15+). During the program, participants talk together about questions such as: What do we want—and not want—at the end of our life? How might our family, culture, religion, and beliefs shape how we think about death? How do access to care, geography, and desires to be remembered affect our decisions about the end of our life?

2:00 p.m., Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Oregon, Eugene

February 6, 2020

Conversation Project: Oregonians and the State’s Racist Past, Present, and Future

Oregon has a long history of racism that continues to influence the state today. While we often look at how the state’s racist history affects policies and institutions, we talk less about how it affects people’s personal understanding of racism and racist experiences. Join facilitator Tai Harden-Moore in a conversation that asks, What does Oregon’s racist past mean for Oregonians? How does the state’s history affect how bias shows up for individuals? This conversation will also look at how we can identify our own racial biases and work toward concrete ways to move forward as individuals and community. This conversation will take place in the auditorium.

6:30 p.m., Abernethy Conversations About Race, Portland